Ex-Fishers' Damages Appeal over Bikini H-Bomb Tests Rejected

Society

Takamatsu, Kagawa Pref., Dec. 12 (Jiji Press)--Takamatsu High Court on Thursday upheld a lower court ruling that rejected a claim by former Japanese tuna fishermen and bereaved relatives for state compensation over the 1954 U.S. hydrogen bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.

In the lawsuit, the 29 plaintiffs have demanded a total of some 42 million yen from the Japanese government for hiding records of radiation exposure from the hydrogen bomb tests.

The plaintiff side claimed that the state had deliberately continued to cover up the records until they were disclosed in 2014 and that the fishermen from Kochi Prefecture, western Japan, who were operating near Bikini Atoll at the time of the hydrogen bomb tests, lost opportunities to recover their health as a result.

"It's unrecognizable that the government decided to hide the records and maintained its intention," Presiding Judge Takahisa Masuda at the high court in Takamatsu, the capital of Kagawa Prefecture, next to Kochi, said.

Kochi District Court last year turned down the damages claim, citing reasons including the expiration of a 20-year period in which the plaintiffs were entitled to demand compensation under Japan's Civil Code. Meanwhile, the high court did not make any judgment on the subject.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press